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American University

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20016
(202) 885-1000
Email address
School Information
"American University is a private, co-educational doctoral institution situated in a residential neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. We are classified as an R2 Institution, ranked "Doctoral: Higher Research Activity" by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. We are a Methodist affiliated institution. "Our total fall 2019 enrollment was 14,318, with 7,627 degree-seeking undergraduates, 4,198 degree-seeking graduate students, 1,406 law students, and 1,087 students in nondegree certificate programs, Washington Semester program, or Abroad at AU. "We offer 79 bachelor's degrees, 98 master's degrees, 11 doctoral degrees, JD, LLM, SJD, MLS, certificates, and associate degrees." (Source:
General Information
American University was one of the first universities to embrace the ideology of "anti-racism". The university is home to the nation's first research center focused on the topic and also supported the work of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of the book "How to be an Anti-Racist". As of this moment, the center is still in operation. No mandatory Critical Race Training sessions are yet required of students. However, see developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • As of September 2021, phase two of "AU's Plan For Inclusive Excellence" states that it would "Continue to enhance culturally responsive student recruitment strategies by continuing to partner with organizations focused on education access for BIPOC and low-income students."
  • On September 15, 2023, AU's President issued a statement on the Supreme Court's decision on race-based admissions which reads in part as follows: "The court’s decision has made the admissions aspect of our work more challenging and affected our pursuit of belonging and inclusion for members of community. Thus, our already important inclusive excellence work and engagement across the community takes on even greater significance. We are broadening and deepening the work, including moving forward on the search for the new vice president of inclusive excellence...."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • As of September 2021, phase two of "AU's Plan For Inclusive Excellence" states that it would "Develop and launch recurring inclusive hiring training for senior leadership, staff managers, and faculty search committee chairs" and "Include DEI training in new staff orientation."
  • On August 18, 2021, AU News published an article titled "Keeping Equity and Inclusiveness at the Forefront of Hiring" which discusses how HR provides diversity training to its search committees and states, "The training focuses on the evaluation and assessment of candidates—spots where unconscious bias and sometimes explicit bias take place." 
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • The College of Arts and Sciences launched The Antiracist Curriculum Development Initiative. The school said, "This initiative seeks an increase in the number of CAS courses that take an antiracist perspective in content and pedagogy...we can do more to apply academic rigor to investigating structures of systemic racism and white supremacy in society and in our academic disciplines. As a College, we are committed to further progress in this area, and are making available resources to help with antiracist curriculum development at several levels. We welcome your suggestions for other tools." The college will also endeavor to specially designate all courses relating to race and racism. The initiative also provides suggestions to faculty on implementing "Antiracism in the Humanities Classroom," "Antiracism in the STEM Classroom," and "Antiracism in the Arts Classroom."
  • As of September 2021, phase two of "AU's Plan For Inclusive Excellence" states that it would "Pilot [an] antiracist curricular development project in at least three schools and colleges, with student input."
  • As of September 2021, phase two of "AU's Plan For Inclusive Excellence" states that it would "Review AU’s Diversity and Equity (DIV) courses to increase breadth across fields and disciplines."
Disciplinary Measures
  • AU outlines its bias reporting system and states that students would "find information about bias and how the University will respond if it becomes aware of a bias related incident."
Program and Research Funding
  • First Antiracist Research and Policy Center (ARPC) was created by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
  • The Antiracism Center has finalized its faculty affiliate team who will engage in the work of antiracism across the university.
  • As part of "The Antiracist Curriculum Development Initiative," the College of Arts and Sciences will provide ". Support for antiracist curriculum development," specifically through "Expert workshops on antiracism and pedagogy" and "Antiracist Curriculum Development Grants" (up to $1,500).
  • The University has a Department of Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies (CRGC) which it describes as a "vibrant and inclusive community of faculty and students that explores diverse voices, histories, and experiences through socially engaged scholarship."
  • The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University "generates scholarly research, educational tools, and policy analysis geared towards dismantling racism in its many forms." The Center builds "multidisciplinary initiatives for fostering racial justice, decolonial politics, and intersectional liberation by forging relationships across AU and with external changemakers in the DC region and beyond."
  • As of September 2021, phase two of "AU's Plan For Inclusive Excellence" states that it would "Support the Antiracist Research and Policy Center in hiring an executive director and providing sufficient staffing and funding to support the center’s mission."
  • The College of Arts and Sciences' Initiative for STEM Education, Ethics, and Equity "will prepare diverse student populations for transferable 21st century academic and non-academic jobs in science and technology, as well as related fields in communications and policy."
  • On January 24, 2023, AU News announced that a "$1 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant is helping AU to retain and nurture women and members of underrepresented [women of color] communities as part of its STEM faculty."
Re-Imagining Policing
  • On July 7, 2020, the Office of the President announced that the AU Police Department would "hold implicit bias training[s]" that summer "in line with their enhanced fair and equitable policing policy."
  • As of September 2021, phase two of "AU's Plan For Inclusive Excellence" states that it would "Build and implement an enhanced training plan for all AU Police Department officers on implicit bias, fair and equitable policing, and racial profiling."
  • The School of Education has launched a new "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Antiracism" as well as a new, ad-hoc committee.
  • The university hosted a "TEACH-IN on Antiracism in School Counseling" conference. The event description partially reads, "School counselors are often on the frontlines of combating racism, whether it be in P-12 or higher education settings. Racist and oppressive practices are systematically and structurally embedded within schools' policies, norms, and practices to the detriment of Black/Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)...This Teach-In will explore the systemic and structural presence of racism within the field of school counseling with an eye towards increasing participants’ understanding and ability to enact an anti-racist approach in their work." Resources provided included "Infusing an Antiracist Framework Into School-Family-Community Partnerships" and "Interrupting Racism: Equity & Social Justice in School Counseling."
  • The Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success "strives to advance antiracist school counseling and college/career advising practices, pedagogy and policies." The center hosted "Antiracist School Counseling: A Call to Action Webinar" and "An Antiracist Foundation to School Counseling: Students’ Mindsets & Behaviors."
  • The university library has created an Antiracist Praxis, with a section on Racial Justice in Education. Subsection titles include "Antiracist Pedagogy and Praxis," "Antiracist Assessment," and "Being an Ally."
  • The university library's "Antiracist Praxis" has a section on "Knowing, Doing, and Being." Subsection titles include "Decoloniality," "Implicit Bias," "Allyship," and "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion."
  • The School of Education hosted the "Summer Institute on Education Equity and Justice." One session explored "how perpetuating the 'model minority' myth further fosters systemic racism, ultimately perpetuating white dominance. Attendees will learn how this often overlooked myth can impact our abilities to deepen our understanding in becoming anti-racists leaders."
  • The School of Education offers an "Anti-Racist Administration Supervision and Leadership Certificate Program," which awards program participants a "Leaders Drive Equity in Education" virtual certificate. Participants will work with "Course instructors whose work is guided by AU’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center."
  • The AU Library 2023-2026 Strategic Plan states that it would "[s]trategically change our collecting practices to include voices historically excluded from academic collections and highlight and celebrate underrepresented voices and perspectives."
  • The AU Library 2023-2026 Strategic Plan states that it "strive[s] to incorporate Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) into all areas of our operations and decision-making."
  • In an April 2024 report titled “No Graduation Without Indoctrination: The DEI Course Mandate,” the organization Speech First “investigated 248 colleges and universities across each state” and found that “[more] than two-thirds include DEI academic requirements,” including American University. According to the report (pg. 14), the university's "Diversity and Equity" course is required and offered as part of a student's major or minor and "attend[s] to issues of power, privilege, and inequality that are embedded in social cultural or economic hierarchies...."
Symbolic Actions
  • AU's School of International Service states, "We are persistently identifying creative approaches to dismantling systems of racism and oppression—locally and globally—that hinder the promise of a more just world."
Last updated April 12th, 2024
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